AVENS has extended a lockdown for its long-term care residents after a new case of Covid-19 was diagnosed earlier this month.

The extension takes the lockdown to Nov. 28.

For some, like Bruce Christensen, the measure creates a barrier for family and friends to spend time with loved ones.

“My grandmother is in AVENS, in one of the cottages,” said Christensen. “On and off, we’ve been able to go see her and, due to Covid restrictions, not being able to see her.”

Though the recent lockdown extension put a damper on Christensen’s spirits, it has led to the creation of a temporary alternative.

Through discussions with another family member, the idea came about to create a support group for those going through a similar situation.

“There’s are a lot of people struggling with not being able to see their family members, and the support group is for family members who have members of their family or friends at AVENS. (It’s) just so that they can talk through, privately and confidentially, their experiences and their feelings on the situation,” Christensen explained. “We’re all in silos. We’re writing out to our MLAs. We’re writing health ministers. We’re trying to reach out and find out what the status is on our family members or whatnot. It’s quite a frustrating process.”

The predicament can get tensions running high, he acknowledged.

“I’m not by any way a counsellor, but I do carry those emotions and feelings,” he said. “I feel that, as a group of people that are going through the same experience, we really do need to come together, even just talk about it at a minimum.”

The reaction to the support group has been quite positive, according to Christensen.

“How I really feel about it is that it’s a good thing that people understand that this is happening,” he said. “There’s really a disconnection between families … (but) it looks like the community is coming together on the idea and it’s bringing awareness to the situation, which is the big thing for me.”

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